With the mindset of giving Churchill Tener-Knowles his flowers while he is still alive, the City of Freeport Council (CFP) honored the sporting stalwart by naming a newly built park in the Arden Forest area in his honor.
Located on Falstaff Drive, off Ariel Place, the park was the gathering place for family; friends; City of Freeport Council members; Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson; Administrator for the City Council, Ms. Kathy Smith; and long serving member to the constituency of East Grand Bahama K. Peter Turnquest, for the occasion. After tributes and remarks, the black and gold ribbon drape across the entrance of the park was cut officially, making the park's open. Subsequently, the park’s sign was unveiled.
The man of many sporting hats said he indeed felt honored.
“I really don’t have that much to say. I think my grandkids and my son said it all. Let me just say I appreciate Local Government and also the government for recognizing the contributions that people make to the community and to their country.
“I think, as Turnquest and Minister Thompson said, we have a responsibility as Bahamians and Grand Bahamians to contribute to our community and our country. That’s what I tried to do over the years.
“My calling is the church, sports and civics. And I made no bones about that. For those here, lets endeavour to make our country better by being involved in our community.”
Councilor for the East Grand Bahama constituency Erris Hutcheson shared with the audience how the park’s refurbishment came about. Although the park was not a part of the CFP’s assets, Hutcheson had made a promise to a resident of the area he would do what was needed to beautify the park. A week after winning his seat in the local elections he voiced, the clean-up began.
Emphasizing that his word is his bond, he met with the Turnquest, and was given permission to proceed with beautifying the park.,
“After the election, fate would have had it the following week, that I came out to this park and started to clean it. That same lady who was giving me a challenge saw me cleaning and I explained to her I made a commitment I would clean this park provided I get in.
“To get this facility erected and beautified, I went to the Member of Parliament at the time and he didn’t even question me. He said, ‘Hutch, get it done.’ And he (Turnquest) donated and he put himself out there and today we’re here paying tribute to a legend.”
Turnquest shared that he grew up hearing tales about the honoree’s talents on the softball field and his business acumen and always had genuine feelings when it came to Tener-Knowles’ actions as a human being.
“I’ve always had wonderful and genuine feelings about Mr. Tener-Knowles. I believe that he is one who has genuinely believed in and loved this community. He has contributed and poured his all into ensuring that sports in particular, and the community at large develop in a positive way.
“There’s no hesitation or equivocation about supporting the naming of this park in honor of such an honorable and respectful gentleman. The investment that we make in young people is probably one of the biggest and valuable investments that we can make in our lives.
“Giving beyond ourselves will pay dividends for generations to come and that is what he has done, and I want to encourage all of us to recognize that today is not about us, it's about the future.”
Thompson expressed that he had the privilege of growing up in the same age bracket as Ross, one of Tener-Knowles’ sons, and they played baseball with and against each other. One of Thompson’s fondest memories of Tener-Knowles was him always being present and supportive.
“One of the things I always remember, whether it was playing baseball at the YMCA or whether it was softball at the old FOCOL field, you were always there. At that time, I didn’t even know you were a sports icon or a sports hall of famer. All I knew was you were Ross’ dad.
“Your support and your encouragement were an example to all of us young men at the time. As I’ve grown and gotten experience in community leadership, I began to understand and see the achievements you have provided. You have done it in a way that is an example to all of us that strive to be community leaders.
“You achieved service in your community, but at the same time managed to be a father and grandfather above all else. That is something to really be proud of, and all of us can learn from. So, I congratulate you today, sir, for all your achievements,” he concluded.